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Is full email encryption the solution to Exchange security?
This article is part of the Exchange Insider issue of January 2010, Vol. 4
Is your Exchange environment the weakest link in your information system? All the compliance requirements and vendor marketing babble being pushed on us lately might make you think so. "You have to encrypt Exchange email in transit" many experts claim. If you don't, they say that you're out of compliance and your business is at risk. When looking at the known data breaches, an online clearinghouse of information on electronic security breaches, you won't read much about rogue insiders or external hackers gaining access to sensitive email in transit. Information almost always covers email exposure at the host level. Sensitive email messages are usually compromised when passwords are cracked, missing patches are exploited and sensitive information is recovered off a lost or stolen mobile device. You'll also see breach stories about unprotected email that was being sent accidentally, potentially exposing the entire system. The question remains: Do you automatically encrypt every Exchange email -- just in case? That's a hard sell. ...
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Features in this issue
Exchange Server is mature and generally stable, but delivery problems can and do occur. Microsoft offers a few tools, including its Message Tracking tool, to get to the bottom of some of the peskiest mail flow problems.
Many security officers would suggest that encrypting every email that goes through Exchange is the best way to protect your organization. A better approach is to focus on security basics first and then and think about encrypting email.